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Our goal is not to proliferate the usage of single-use paper, but we recognize that the initial launch of this proposed ordinance may come with a temporary increase of alternatives, presumably paper. As a consumer based society, perhaps if we demand that new paper bags are produced in the most efficient manner, we will see dramatic improvements in the process. It is our opinion that there hasn’t been much innovation in this area. To incentivize the consumer to bring their own bag, shops and/or the ordinance could impose a small fee for providing a bag. This was done in the U.K. and within a 6-month period, the single-use bag usage dropped by 80%.
That is a different program and not part of our campaign, but is relevant to the larger topic of plastic. Our campaign solely is focused on single-use plastic bags to address a specific problem, inspire awareness of all single-use materials and build momentum for moving away from single-use items.
Single-use foam, paper, and plastic cups do need to be dealt with and it is indeed on our list of things to address, including straws and balloons. Our approach for the wide elimination of single-use plastic bags has a focus on durable, reusable bags, and less so choosing between plastic and paper. Plastic bags are a by-product of the natural gas industry and more of it comes from fracked gas which isn’t sustainable and plastic bags last a long time. There isn’t a perfect solution but we feel moving forward with a community ban will encourage people to be mindful of all single-use items and start a wave of change.
Reusable bags do in fact reach their end of life and become trash, however, one reusable bag can hold 2-3 times the amount of product that goes into a single-use plastic bag, and one reusable bag can be used hundreds of times. For every reusable bag, we probably eliminate at least 500 single-use bags, and likely many more. We never find reusable bags in the ocean and shoreline. We have not seen them become a type of litter and a huge part of what we are working towards is to protect and improve the environment. Landfills are indeed safe, but a temporary fix for waste management. While sanitary landfills are great at preventing contamination to the watershed (no air or water exchange), they are essentially mummifying all our waste for future generations to figure out.
This may take some practice, but these practices work:
1. When purchasing toilet tissue, paper towels, and paper plates, buy it in bulk and use the bag for your waste basket, or to dispose of animal waste.
2. When purchasing electronics, save the bags that most things come in and use them for cat litter.
3. If you or your neighbor gets the newspaper, use the plastic bag that the paper comes in for cat litter or dog waste.
4. Reuse your empty coffee can with re-sealable lid for cat litter and empty once a week on trash day.
1. Stop using plastic bags and get yourself a few durable reusable bags.
2. Skip the wrapping paper for gifts and give your gifts in durable reusable bags.
3. Let your favorite merchants know that you support the elimination of plastic bags.
4. Inform all elected officials that you support the elimination of plastic bags.
5. Get outside and connect with nature and let the good feeling of our island environment build a wave of momentum to protect the environment for future generations.